Seth Udinski, FISM News
A Catholic priest in the United States has been banished from the priesthood for what appears to be his simple yet bold support of traditionally-held Christian beliefs about the sanctity of human life.
On Saturday, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported that Father Frank Pavone, 63, was removed from the priesthood last month. Reports indicate that the decision was heavily influenced by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who serves as a papal representative in the United States under Francis I.
Last week, Pierre released a notably vague reason as to why Fr. Pavone was relieved of his duties, citing “blasphemous communications on social media,” and “persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.”
The statement read, in part,
Father Pavone was given ample opportunity to defend himself in the canonical proceedings, and he was also given multiple opportunities to submit himself to the authority of his diocesan bishop. It was determined that Father Pavone had no reasonable justification for his actions.”
All sources point to Pavone’s tenacious fight against abortion as an unabashedly pro-life Catholic priest. He currently serves as head of the pro-life organization Priests for Life, a title he has held for almost 30 years.
He was also an adamant supporter of former President Donald Trump, which could also be part of the reason why he was defrocked.
Some sources have pointed to a resurfaced video from November of 2016 that they believe contributed to the dismissal. Pavone posted a video urging support for Trump’s first presidential candidacy, in which there was pictured an aborted baby at an alter.
The Roman Catholic Church forbids churchmen from partaking in political support unless they are allowed to do so by their presiding bishop, according to CNA.
As an added layer of intrigue, Pavone claims he was not informed about his dismissal from his superiors. He reportedly did not know about it until reading Saturday’s initial report from CNA.
Pavone has promised to defend his reputation and will do so in court if necessary.
He wrote in a Monday press release:
Some in the Church have been trying to silence my voice for 20 years. It will not work. This is not just an attack on me, but an effort by forces both inside and outside the Church to intimidate every courageous pro-life priest and lay activist. We see this in the arrests of pro-life advocates and the lack of response from law enforcement in more than 100 attacks against pro-life organizations. We see this in when some religious leaders provide cover for pro-abortion politicians like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi….Ultimately, this is about how the Church will respond to abortion, and whose view of this battle will hold sway in the Catholic Church and beyond. It’s about whom the Church wants to punish: Pro-abortion politicians or pro-life priests. It’s about whom the Church wants to abort: Babies in the womb, or priests who defend them.
Author’s Biblical Analysis
500 years ago, a Catholic priest was similarly condemned for airing theological grievances against the church’s erroneous teaching of justification by works and the sale of indulgences. That disagreement began the Protestant Reformation, one of the most monumental movements in the 2000-year history of the Christian Church.
I am not a prophet, but I would not be surprised to see another theological battle of titanic proportions in the near future for the Church of Rome.
Regardless of your theological distinction, if you believe in the truth of scripture, then you stand with the Roman Catholic church’s traditional, long-held belief about the sanctity of human life in the womb.
Roman Catholics have, for almost two millennia, held staunchly to the belief that the murder of babies, whether born or unborn, is morally reprehensible and utterly profane, preaching that God despises it and, therefore, His people should too. This is a belief that all true Christians should hold.
But in this most recent presidential administration, we have seen a sharp uptick in “pro-choice” Catholics. Politicians such as President Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, who claim to hold Roman Catholic beliefs personally but promote radically anti-Catholic policies politically, have highlighted how many others in the Catholic church have softened their stance on the issue.
Similarly, we have a seen a Catholic Pope who has been characterized by some as the most radically progressive Pope in Rome’s history, accused of turning a blind eye to the plight of unborn children.
It appears, from all sources, that Frank Pavone’s sole reason for his dismissal was his outspoken support of unborn life.
If this is truly the reason he has been removed from leadership, he has been condemned for simply holding, preaching, and sharing a belief that, for 1,700 years, was not even a question for debate in the Roman Church.
What do evangelical Christians make of this report? Let me first say that this is neither a promotion nor condemnation of the Roman Catholic Church in general. As an evangelical Christian, I disagree sharply with certain distinctives of Roman Catholic theology, while standing shoulder-to-shoulder on others. On the issue of human life, I stand firmly alongside the Roman Church in agreement.
With this in mind, I believe the answer is simple – We must not budge an inch in our defense of the truth.
Christians can learn from Pavone’s bold stance. He has determined that the importance of the truth he has spent his life defending outweighs any potential consequences that might come from it.
He has risked his profession, his clerical ministry, and even his reputation to uncover the hypocrisy held by many who give lip service to traditional Christian values, but will deny those values to gain political popularity, even at the expense of innocent human life. He has defied his clerical supervisors to defend the truth that he knows to be true, even if those who are supposed to be his spiritual superiors have denied it.
Believer, we must be ready to do the same.
We must be willing to defend the truth of the gospel, even though the cost is great.
It may cost you your reputation, your job, your friends, your family, your popularity, your wealth, and perhaps even your life. But the cost is worth it.
All of those other things are temporary joys, with no eternal satisfaction promised. The joy of Christ is eternal.
Christians have great hope for eternal satisfaction, only to be found in Christ. He has promised that He will reward our faithfulness, imperfect and incomplete as it is. Let us focus our energy not on pleasing man to gain fleeting joy, but on pleasing God, the source of eternal joy.
Hold fast to the truth. Your Father in heaven, who sees all, will be well-pleased with your faithfulness to Him, and He will not forget it.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12